This past weekend Appalachian State University’s climbing team hosted their spring climbing competition, Southern Comfort XVI.
It was a total blast! I haven’t competed in ages, and I thought it would be a fun excuse to visit all my friends in Boone. I didn’t climb as well as I had hoped, but placed #1 in Women’s Advanced and came home with two sweet Organic bags.
When I first got into the gym and started feeling out the problems, I’ll admit that I experienced a fair share of frustration at so many climbs being height-dependent. In general, I feel there is a lack of understanding in gyms about how short a “short person” is. Perhaps setters just don’t believe a person can really be so short? I understand sometimes larger moves can be compensated for with tricky beta, and sometimes it’s just my fault for not being strong enough. But especially at indoor comps, it can feel like being a child on one of those roller coasters when you just don’t meet the height requirement and you have to stand by and watch all your taller friends having the time of their lives.
Just as a quick ruler idea from Drexel: when setting a move that is not intended to be a dyno, check the span from one fingertip to the opposite elbow. This may seem ludicrous, but that is actually my span compared to his.
Accepting the fact that I would not be able to do some problems, I decided to give everything a three-go limit, starting with the hardest problems and working my way down. I’ve learned from previous comps that sieging is not the way to go. It quickly became apparent that all the advanced problems and most of the higher level intermediates were not feasible. I felt my capacity to let this get to me. I felt the tension and despair in other climbers. I saw other shorter girls getting upset. I actually saw one girl crying. But I didn’t want to go there. It’s not “real.” It’s just a fun gym competition. I forced myself to reframe the situation and told myself that it was my attachment to a certain outcome that was the problem, not the outcome itself. If the ultimate goal is fun or happiness, then winning a comp should really just be a middleman. Which means it is completely arbitrary. I shouldn’t need to “win” to have fun and feel good about myself.
I had left the competition early to answer my phone, went back inside to turn in my scorecard, and then finished up dealing with some really ridiculous situations going on back home — one of the plights of being an on-call therapist is that I have to stop whatever I am doing, 24/7, and deal with a client who was, in this situation, pooping all over the place as a power move against their parents. And then I got another call about a person trying to kill herself and had to somehow wave my magic wand and fix everything.
Sometimes I wonder why on earth I would choose to work in the mental health field, especially with high-level children and their families. Why didn’t I just stay in the minivan with Drexel, where everything was clean and calm and free of feces?
I took a walk to clear my head, ate lunch, cuddled my puppy, and still ended up scoring a front row seat to watch finals. I got super excited watching Melise, Rose and Kelsey cruising through all the Women’s Finals problems. I appreciated that they switched up the format from top 3 coed to having both the top 3 males and top 3 females compete. Everyone took their seats and the heat was on.
The highlight of the finals was most definitely catching Melise flying through the air in slow-motion and completing potentially the hardest single move of the day:
When everything was said and done, it was a great competition and a great weekend. Everyone went home with something cool, whether or not they placed, because of the insane amount of raffle prizes. On top of that, we ate Cha Da Thai for dinner two nights in a row, some ladies took the plunge and bought themselves a pStyle, AND we (minus Carson) had a really nice group hug slash kumbayah circle to say goodbye. Already looking forward to our next trip back to Boone!
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